Svengali – the classic story of the obsessed hypnotist who compels a beautiful young woman to marry him …. But can’t compel her to fall in love with him.
Svengali (1931) starring John Barrymore, Marian Marsh
Svengali: [to Trilby] There is nothing in your mind… nothing in your heart… nothing in your soul… but Svengali… Svengali… Svengali… !
John Barrymore is Svengali, the teacher and virtuoso who seduces and destroys young women with his hypnotic powers. He sets his evil gaze upon the beautiful young artist’s model, Trilby. Powerless to resist the maestro’s control, Trilby abandons her noble young lover and flees with her new master who forces her to become his bride. Svengali transforms her into an international singing star, first bringing the couple fame and wealth, but leading to a rapid descent into depravity, horror, and damnation.
This 1931 Warner Brothers classic is noteworthy for its expressionistic sets and camerawork and Barrymore’s mesmerizing performance. Based on the novel Trilby by George Du Maurier, this film popularized the term “a Svengali” – (roughly translated, evil mentor).
Cast of characters
- John Barrymore (Grand Hotel, Dinner At Eight) … Svengali
- Marian Marsh (Five Star Final) … Trilby O’Farrell. The beautiful model, in love with Billie. But Svengali is infatuated with her, and uses his hypnotic powers to cause her to run away with him. Although he turns her into a singing sensation …. He can’t make her truly fall in love with him.
- Donald Crisp (Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)) … The Laird
- Bramwell Fletcher (The Mummy 1932) … Billie. Trilby’s true love, who pursues her relentlessly.
- Carmel Myers … Madame Honori. Svengali’s former pupil, whom he seduced. When she leaves her husband for him, he uses his powers to cause her to commit suicide …. And promptly forgets her.
- Luis Alberni … Gecko. Svengali’s servant.
- Lumsden Hare … Monsieur Taffy
- Paul Porcasi … Bonelli